After winning his first WSF World Junior Championship for Pakistan in Melbourne, Squash Champion Hamza Khan expressed excitement but bemoaned the lack of support he received in his early career and when he was going through a hard patch.
According to the media reports, Hamza Khan won the championship on Sunday, bringing it back to Pakistan after a 37-year absence, following in the footsteps of former champions Sohail Qaisar and Jansher Khan in 1982 and 1986, respectively. He defeated Egypt’s Mohamed Zakaria to restore the country’s long-lost squash throne.
During an interview with a private channel, the Champion said that they say squash doesn’t get enough support because there are no players. Squash players exist in Pakistan, but they require assistance. He claimed that his father was guiding and supporting him through his ups and downs, while others abandoned him. Everyone is phoning me now that I have won, reminding me of how they taught me the sport. They should have thought about holding my hand earlier. But it was just my father who stood by me.
The 17-year-old youngster lamented the fact that cricket receives more national support than squash. When challenged about being under pressure following the significant victory, the athlete sought “support” from the government. We are severely underfunded. For example, when we want tickets to compete in the [Professional Squash Association] PSA competition, the federation refuses. The federation refuses to fund players above the junior level due to the exorbitant cost of tickets.
Squash Champion Hamza Khan further stated that he was only accompanied by the director of the Pakistan Squash Federation and that there was no coach, physio, or player with him during the tournament. He said that the federation cited a lack of funds for not taking the coach along. It is important for the coach and physio to be with the player in case of an injury.
The young athlete said it is a big deal that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan have extended their support to him, but what he needs at the moment is financial support.